Category archives: Community Art

  • With an unprecedented climate of change and concern dawning in the United States, Art for Progress arts education programs are more essential than ever. AFP is embracing the ever-growing need for alternative and supplemental art, music, theater, and fashion programs for young people representing the voice of true expression in our city. Once again this has been an exciting semester for existing Art for Progress arts education programs in New York City’s public schools, and there are some new programs in the works for the second half of the school year.Our flagship music program at Humanities Preparatory Academy, which includes school day sessions as well as after school, is flourishing and has produced and cultivated a bunch of wonderful talent this semester. Everyone at the school is looking forward to the talent show on February 16th, which will include solo vocal and instrumental performances, and a variety of ensemble pieces and even a dance number.  AFP’s after school program at the James Baldwin School is also going strong and was well represented in the recent school-wide talent show on Friday, January 20. Students from both schools have been working hard after school every day, choosing songs and rehearsing. Especially impressive is the spirit of mutual encouragement among the students as the shows approach.As for AFP’s Young Adult Music Enrichment Program, tracking is nearly completed on Bronx rock band Statik Vision’s full-length album, and we are preparing [...]
  • Art for Progress’ after school music enrichment program at Hudson High School for Learning Technologies was especially inspiring this spring semester because of a dynamic group of multi-talented, and eager students. The program was reinstated this spring thanks to the efforts of principal Nancy Amling. The program had been inactive for the fall semester because a lack of funding, Ms. Amling was influenced in her decision to restart the program by an exceptional young student and musician named Terelle. Terelle’s enthusiasm and hunger for new knowledge were the ultimate catalyst for the formation of the program.Tarelle wanted to learn about how music works beyond the shapes he was learning on the guitar. Hudson HS currently offers a beginning guitar class as a part of the school’s regular curriculum. The class is focused on the mechanics of playing the instrument, but like most beginning guitar classes, it did not address the underlying music theory necessary for students who to build their skills beyond the basic guitar vocabulary.The group of students that comprise the AFP after school program at Hudson range from 9th-12th graders, and are led by Terelle.  He expressed a desire to learn some more universal musical concepts in order to set up a foundation upon which to develop their musicality. They were made up of aspiring singers, guitarists, pianists, and bass players of varying levels of experience. We explored the construction of scales, chord building and common[...]
  • At The James Baldwin School in Chelsea, AFP's program is in its 3rd year, offering after school digital audio production, musical instrument instruction and performance coaching. Students range from 9th to 12th grade and come to the program with a variety of individual goals in mind. The sessions vary, and participants usually work individually or in small groups.The class combines a combination of elements which are often going on simultaneously. One group may be learning how to sequence beats to a metronome track on one computer, while another student is involved in the more advanced stages of a fully fleshed out track on the next. At the same time a vocal duo may be working out harmonies to a rock ballad, while others are learning how to build scales and chords on the piano. In all cases, the fundamentals of music making are uncovered and explored. The focus is always on building a working musical vocabulary and developing the ability to use music for self-expression.This year at Baldwin I have seen remarkable progress on every front. Beat-makers have progressed from struggling at playing simple kick and snare patterns, to building complete tracks and having their friends rap over them. Drummers who had never played a drum-set maintain a groove behind a full band. I’m especially impressed with Reshwan and Katana who had never met before. Within a few short months they have  become a powerful cohesive duet act eagerly learning the theory to support their development[...]
  • The Art for Progress music program at Humanities Preparatory Academy, now in it’s fourth school year, is the flagship of AFP’s arts education programs. Instituted in the Fall of 2012, the program serves two classes of 12-18 students four days per week, with each day’s lunch period serving as an additional class period enabling students to seek further instruction or individual practice time. The class is open to students of all high school years (9-12) allowing a rare occasion for teens of different ages to interact on a level playing field in a collaborative setting.There are also two after school sessions per week, which give students an opportunity to either practice alone, or to join in group music-making, which is the ultimate intention of all AFP music programming. Faculty also participate, further enriching the overall experience of the students, and the teachers learn just as much as the kids!The goal of the program is for every student to be able to play at least one complete song. Toward this goal, all students learn the basic mechanics of music in general, and to develop proficiency on least one instrument. Although much of the class time is spent building and developing skills, the focus of the program is ultimately on giving students the tools to express themselves.The semester begins with discussions about students’ musical interests and experiences, with everyone having an opportunity to choose a song by an artist or group that they like to share wi[...]
  • NYC Arts Non Profit Heads West in Support of Local Arts Programs Convergence: Saturday, November 14th, Studio Maesto, Santa Monica, CA. On Saturday, November 14th New York City based non-profit Art for Progress (AFP) will host a fundraiser in support of Studio Maesto’s Arts Collective Program in Santa Monica, California.  The event will take place at Studio Maesto’s dance and photography studio at 1547 6th Street, Santa Monica, and will feature visual art from three Los Angeles based artists who have exhibited with AFP in the past- Sona Mirzaei, Lichiban and Pablo Damas. The night will also showcase live performances from Barry Komitor (NYC based band Bad Faces), DJ sets from NYC’s Gatto, LA based DJ/Producer Elliot DeHoyos and a myriad of local performance artists. Net proceeds from ticket sales and a percentage of art sales will go to support the studios arts collective program (details below). Tickets ($15) will be available at the door. Tickets include a drink and light fare. Additional beverages will be available for purchase. Studio Maesto, 1547 6th Street, Santa Monica, CA - Hours: 7:30pm – 11:00pmOver the last 12 years, Art for Progress has produced over 50 major events in NYC, Miami, San Francisco and Washington DC. With a focus on multimedia productions, AFP has garnered valuable press coverage for artists in world renowned publications such as The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily and The Village Voice.  While supporting and promoting artists through these[...]
  • Bushwick Open Studios wrapped up a while back and this year featured a lot of wild installations, fantastical sculptures, and a return to painting. While I was there, I stopped in Pablo Garcia Lopez's studio where I saw his work that mixed all of the three. A couple of weeks later, I went back to sit down with him and talk about his practice and transformation into an artist.Garcia Lopez did not begin working professionally as an artist until recently - his background is actually in neuroscience. He holds a PhD and still teaches classes. One of his published papers on Santiago Ramon y Cajal, known to many in the field as the father of modern neuroscience, plays heavily into his artistic practice. Cajal moved away from the accepted comparison of the mind to machines, and rather pursued the idea of comparing the mind to nature, specifically plants. Cajal said, "The cerebral cortex is similar to a garden filled with innumerable trees, the pyramidal cells, that can multiply their branches thanks to an intelligent cultivation, sending their roots deeper and producing more exquisite flowers and fruits every day." Writing in the 19th century, his words come into play much later in the silk sculptural installations by Garcia Lopez.After learning of his background and interest in this matter, I was immensely curious as to how exactly it manifests in the artist's religiously charged works. He explained that his use of silk relates to the individual fibers of the brain, and [...]
  • NYC non-profit Art for Progress hosts this special event Wednesday, April 22nd at The Bowery Electric to celebrate Earth Day and to raise awareness. The night will feature an outstanding line up of artists with local pop rockers Wyland headlining the night. The amazing Blythe Gruda will open the show and feature some very special guests followed by a one woman psychedelic rock performance from Brooklyn's Idgy Dean. Indie rockers Polyvox will close out the night with a set of synth driven beats. Tickets are $10 and include the chance to win amazing door prizes from Gibson Guitars and tickets to The Museum of Natural History.
  • What Leslie Feinberg and Brooke Siem of NYC's Prohibition Bakery find most fun about baking amazingly delicious alcohol-laden cupcakes is doing something that makes people happy. “There’s very few people who are incorporating boozy cupcakes into a sad occasion, Feinberg says with a laugh. “It’s always a good time. It’s always a positive experience.”Their magical cupcakes even helped to bring Leslie Feinberg and her boyfriend together. "He was actually one of our first customers," she shares.Before they started dating, in the early days of Prohibition Bakery, Feinberg delivered to her now-boyfriend's job. "He knew that if we delivered cupcakes I would have to hang out with him, she chortles. "So I delivered to his job and I told everybody that it was his birthday, which it was not. They all sang to him and it was wonderful."In retrospect, Feinberg remembers it as a pretty adorable moment. "One of his co-workers said, “Dude, she definitely likes you, she says. "I would say within weeks we were dating."Now isn't that sugar and spice, and everything nice!Click on link below to find out more about this boozy baker’s most prized fashion items after the jump.Jacqueline Colette Prosper, @yummicocoHoodie  Oddly enough, this hoodie is kind of one of my favorite things. I got this at an event when I was still bar tending, in the very early days of the bakery. I was working at a terrible gastropub in Murray Hill, and I went to a Jameson event, where the[...]
  • Art for Progress is proud to announce their upcoming production of Much Ado About Nothing. One of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies, Much Ado also takes a complex look at love, relationships and searching for "self," This production will use the classic language of Shakespeare in a modern setting - demonstrating the relevance of the writer's work in present day. This incredible show will also feature some of NYC's finest actors, comedians and public servants all on stage for a good cause. After production costs - all profits will go to Art for Progress's Education Program - helping young people tap into their artistic abilities. We hope you can contribute towards this important work and look forward to seeing you at the show.We need your support to present 'Much Ado About Nothing'!Your donation will go to: •Theater rental •Our musicians •Rehearsal space and rehearsal pianist •PublicityTo thank you for your support we have the following perks: •VIP tickets to the show •Signed programs and posters from our cast and crew •An invitation to our wrap party •A private concert in your home •And much more!Any funds we receive will go towards paying our production costs. Any additional funds past our goal plus all tickets sales will go directly to Art for Progress in support of their educational programming.Please help us spread the word about our fundraising campaign, Arts for Progress: Much Ado About Nothing, and our upcoming performances!•Share our[...]
  • It was a cold Saturday afternoon, but I was motivated to trek over to Chelsea to check out the Kitchen Girls & Toy Boys show at Rush Arts Gallery.  Artists Sindy Butz and Sol Kjok are participating artists in the show and have both worked with AFP on various projects.It didn't take long for me to identify Sol's very large piece, "Strings Attached" as I walked into the gallery.  Her figurative work bursts off the canvas with great detail and her use of color brings out the emotion in her characters.  In this piece the characters are strung together and appear to be grasping and climbing over each other while still maintaining a certain co-dependence.I was impressed with the overall quality and diversity of the work in the show.  The work of Reinhold Gottwald caught my attention. His colorful, small, abstract pieces on wood are hung/arranged as if they are a group of  planets sharing the same solar system. I found Markus Fiedler's beeswax sneakers quite intriguing and an interesting piece(s) to be included in the show. I was impressed with the incredible detail he was able to achieve using beeswax.I noticed Sindy crouched down on the floor, but I didn't realize that her performance had already begun. What is she up to this time? Sindy's not afraid to take on the not so obvious social issues of the day. Her thought provoking work continues to evolve and this performance would not disappoint.  The message on the floor read, "The West Tastes like Gold." As Sind[...]